March 28, 2018

A Gentle Hug, a Caring Word and the Promise of Prayer

The Impact of the Second-Ponce Flower Ministry

By Susan Raven

For many years, my mother enjoyed being a part of the flower ministry at Second-Ponce. This involved a few people going to the church on Monday mornings and breaking down the Sunday flower arrangements into several smaller bouquets. The flowers were then delivered to hospitalized church members, those who had suffered a loss or to folks who were unable to come to church due to health issues. After I retired four years ago, I spoke to Charles Qualls (former Associate Pastor) about joining this ministry. I learned that it was no longer functioning, but it was a ministry the church would like to reignite. Today’s flower committee operates just as it did when my mother was a participant even using the same enclosure cards originally created for the ministry.
All flower committee members share a love of God and their church family. Some of us have special gifts and interest that we try to express through this ministry like a unique artistic flair, embracing the opportunity to pray with the recipients or simply the joy that comes when you brighten someone’s day with some flowers and a smile. We have around 8–10 total members on the flower committee. Each week, three of us make and deliver the arrangements. This means each member generally commits to serving 4–5 Mondays in any three-month period, certainly not a burden on any of us. Usually service involves no more than a couple of hours commitment on any Monday (except the days we spend extra time fellowshipping while arranging flowers or talking with recipients during delivery. Those moments are some of the greatest blessings of being on this committee.) As much as I love our church family, there are many people that I only know on a surface level. Often, we can share in each other’s greatest joys and sorrows, but we can’t possibly know every church member on a deeper level. Being a member of a small group like the flower ministry has allowed me the opportunity to get to know so many people in a more personal, richer manner and I am so blessed by this opportunity.

We have learned that everyone likes to receive flowers. Initially we thought women would appreciate a pretty arrangement of flowers the most, but the flowers we share provide more than just beauty. These bouquets say that your church family is thinking of you and praying for you, and that is something that is universally meaningful. This ministry is a gentle hug, a caring word and a promise of prayer from the larger church body to hurting members of our church family. Occasionally, this ministry is even more. Delivering flowers gives us an excuse to visit with church members who need help in functioning in their daily lives. If we see that someone is not managing well, we alert the ministers who then assist in making sure that the person receives the help and care they need.

We now want to expand the flower ministry to include hurting folks outside our own church membership but to do that we need the entire church body to be involved. All of us have friends, neighbors and co-workers who are suffering with a death in their family, an illness or some other crisis where they would appreciate knowing they are not alone in their pain. Therefore, we are going to start making additional flower arrangements each Monday. We will continue to deliver the flowers to church members just as we currently do; however, the extra arrangements will be available for any church member to pick up to take to someone they know who could use a “floral hug.” Flowers can be picked up after Noon on Mondays on a “first come, first served” basis. You can call the church office to check availability. Arrangements need to be picked up as early in the week as possible but no later than Wednesday as the flowers are fragile and lose freshness. The enclosure card on the flowers will read:

The Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church sends these flowers from our pulpit with our love. They have heard the hymns, the prayers, and the sermon. Now they bring to you a silent message of the comfort and cheer, the peace and blessing which you can find in God’s house. A member of our church family shared with us the ordeal you are currently experiencing and we want you to know that we are praying for you and are here to support and comfort you with God’s unwavering strength and love.

We will ask you to leave a prayer request card in the church office when picking up flowers, so we can pray for the person and their situation. Hopefully, this will be a blessing to the recipient and provide a useful outreach tool. If anyone has any questions regarding the flower ministry, please call me at (770) 435-0676 or email me at sraven@emory.edu.